Have you ever responded to someone wanting to know how you were with, “Just hanging in there,” “Down to the last strand,” “Losing my grip” or “At the end of my rope”? 

There are moments when I feel like I’m trying to do too much and other times when I’m not doing enough. I can’t decide whether to continue struggling to hang on or to just let it all go.

After watching the opening scene of the movie Vertical Limit, I have a whole new perspective on this dilemma.

The movie opens with some breathtaking views of Monument Valley, Utah where a couple of skilled mountain climbers—a father, his son and daughter—are casually, but cautiously, making their way up the vertical face of a magnificent rock formation. 

A couple of recreational climbers are scaling the same face above and off to the side of the trio when the two break loose from where they were attached and knock the other three off the rock, getting entangled with them. All five are momentarily dangling from a couple of camming devices (cam—a spring-loaded piece of equipment placed into a crack of a rock to provide a place where a climber’s sling, carabiner and rope can be secured), until one fails and the two novices fall, leaving the trio hanging precariously by one last anchoring device.

When the daughter is unable to attach any further cams, their father, knowing one will not hold the weight of the three of them, implores his son, who is in the middle, to cut the rope holding him up (and pulling the other two down).

Reluctantly and despondently, his son obliges to save his life and the life of his sister.

This scene (or recurring dream of mine) vividly depicts my sentiments at times—dangling by a rope, ready to break loose, while being dragged down by the weight of so many other things in my life. I don’t want to let go of those (seemingly good) “things”, but I also don’t want them to take me down. 

Are there things in your life weighing on you? Are they vitally necessary or should you consider cutting them loose?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a right time to hold on and another to let go (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

If there was anyone who knew the importance of “letting go,” it would be King Solomon. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, controlled the entire region west of the Euphrates, composed three hundred proverbs and 1005 songs, wrote the Song of Songs, Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, built numerous temples and structures, and had more “things” than any of us could ever imagine.

Most of us don’t have quite the responsibilities, distractions or possessions, nevertheless, we all have something in our lives we don’t need to be spending our time on nor distracting our focus.

What should you consider letting go of today?

From the Past

Almost all of us have some baggage we’re carrying around causing us angst from time to time; however, many treat these personal issues as ongoing current events. They may have been the result of a broken relationship, harsh words spoken about you, a cultural heritage, a betrayal of a trusted friend, or the lack of encouragement growing up.

Isaiah says in Isaiah 43:18: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

Whatever it is you’ve been dragging along for years, it’s time to let it go. 

I will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs (Hebrews 8:12).

From the Present

Some spend too much of their time and energy in meaningless arguments over senseless issues. 

Stay away from the mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere. Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him (Titus 3:9-10).

A lot of us utilize hours of our day on Facebook, Twitter, surfing the net, texting, sharing photos of what we eat, making videos, etc. turning our “de-vices” into a “vice” in and of themselves.

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork (Ephesians 5:11).

Many singles are hanging onto a relationship which separates them from God, is not pleasing to him or is not a part of his plan. One cause of Solomon’s ultimate demise was the result of taking foreign wives whom he allowed and fostered to worship other gods.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).

A popular and disturbing reality television show, Hoarders, showcase the lifestyle of those who cannot throw anything away and end up living in and amongst rooms full of trash and decaying debris they regard as treasures and keepsakes.

Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or worse! (Matthew 6:19)

From the Future

“Worrying” about the future is a major “waster” of our time, energy and emotion. We can spend hundreds of hours considering countless “scenarios” of what “may happen,” while we don’t have the energy to actually deal with what is.

Paraphrased from the book, The Noticer, by acclaimed author and speaker Andy Andrews: “Forty percent of the stuff you worry about doesn’t happen, thirty percent has already happened, twelve percent are needless worries, ten percent are about what other people think and won’t change, leaving eight percent for legitimate concerns, which can be dealt with if we didn’t use most of our time with useless worries.”

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

In April of 2003, Aron Ralston was climbing in Utah’s Blue John Canyon when an 800-pound boulder in a slot canyon he was descending shifted and crushed his right hand and forearm. Trapped with no conceivable method of escaping, Aron contemplated life and his impending death. 

After five days with no rescue in sight, he determined there was only one possible alternative to dying in that canyon—amputate his arm, rappel down a 65-foot sheer wall and hike 8 miles back to his vehicle.

When asked how he finally decided to cut his arm off, he said, “I realized that this was the result of decisions that I had made. I chose to go out there by myself. I chose not to tell anyone where I was going. I chose not to go with others I had met. I took responsibility for all of my decisions, which helped me take on the responsibility of getting myself out.”

By God’s grace none of us will find ourselves Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Ralston’s book describing the accounts of his experience), but some of us may feel stuck—in a place we can’t get out of or tempted to blame others for our predicament.

We have the choice to acknowledge our situation, accept responsibility, and choose to do something about it, even if it means cutting loose of something or somebody we care about. Determine today what is holding you back from living an extraordinary life (or a life at all) and let it go.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:39).

 

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to cydmg@yahoo.com.